Join 3,553 readers in helping fund MetaFilter (Hide)

We get off the Number 10 bus at a pub called 'The Fox and Hounds'.
July 15, 2014 6:19 PM   Subscribe

MeFi favorite David Mitchell ("Cloud Atlas," "Ghostwritten," "Number 9 Dream") is this week publishing a new short story, "about a boy tripping on his mother's Valium pills." He is publishing it in a series of 280 tweets.

A link to his Twitter account. An interview with the BBC about this project.

David Mitchell, previously.
posted by jbickers (14 comments total) 18 users marked this as a favorite

This is neat. I would have liked it a little better if it had made some use of the format though, rather than been just a short story chopped into 140 characters, or made use of a characters twitter account.
posted by Potomac Avenue at 6:50 PM on July 15 [1 favorite]

David Mitchell the author is not David Mitchell the comedian! I just now realised this! I thought they were one single, incredibly talented person!

posted by Joe in Australia at 7:10 PM on July 15 [4 favorites]

"Tripping" on valium? Does that mean something different in the UK, or is it just a liberal/unconventional usage of "tripping"?

Its difficult for me to follow the story via the medium of Twitter. I don't know why exactly, but "bite-size" story nuggets just don't cohere very well to my eyes, even in long columns like that.
Give me Wall of Text anyday.

* Let me ride on the wall of text, one more tiiiime *
posted by Alonzo T. Calm at 7:27 PM on July 15 [2 favorites]

Does one really "trip" on Valium? I guess a kid might, but still, "under the influence of Valium" would be more sensible, though I guess less tweet-friendly. Anyway. Cloud Atlas was pretty good I suppose. Mitchell is one of the good ones.
posted by turbid dahlia at 9:02 PM on July 15

No, one does not "trip" on Valium- certainly not in the sense that one "trips" on psilocybin or LSD. That was why I found that usage strange.
Honestly, benzodiazepine abuse is probably the least interesting thing one could write about. Unless you like stories where the protagonist falls asleep standing up a lot and persistently forgets his nephew's name and whether or not he preheated the oven for his DiGiorno pizza, dammit.

But that doesn't seem to be happening in this David Mitchell (the not-from-Peep-Show-one) story.
posted by Alonzo T. Calm at 9:26 PM on July 15

Twitter is a shitty way to try to read a story. I can only think of one more frustrating method of reading a story than that one.

Disclaimer: I love Shaenon Garrity's work and Narbonic in particular, but hoo boy, compiling the text for this would have given me whopping headaches.
posted by jenfullmoon at 10:20 PM on July 15 [2 favorites]

David Mitchell the author is not David Mitchell the comedian! I just now realised this! I thought they were one single, incredibly talented person!

Thank God for that. David Mitchell the comedian is pretty much my hero and I thought that writing a novel on Twitter was exactly the sort of thing he would rant about, not the sort of thing he would do.
posted by mmoncur at 10:25 PM on July 15 [1 favorite]

I shall wait for the Storify. Not least because I don't have the twitter.
posted by asok at 1:06 AM on July 16

Given that he said himself that this was basically a publicity stunt for his new book (source: Today programme, BBC Radio 4 interview earlier this week), and that he didn't use or understand or like twitter himself, it's not really a very edifying thing to see. If an author has no respect for, or experience with, a medium, it's hardly surprising their attempts to use it will be underwhelming.
'tweeting' a story by writing a story and then chopping it up into 140chr tweets is a lazy way to use twitter; I bet most people, if they read this at all, will do so in the Storify or similar aggregated way. Feels like, and is, a cheap marketing ploy. Hopefully it won't work and others will learn not to do this.
posted by AFII at 1:36 AM on July 16 [2 favorites]

He's done some very interesting things with the novel - structurally he is so playful even if the novel's fairly conventional (like Black Swan Green was). Even if he doesn't usually tweet, I think the physical constrictions will play to his strengths and I'm VERY much looking forward to seeing what he does. Mitchell is one of the best British novelists of the past 30 years (I'd personally call him one of the best novelists of the past 30 years but I don't know as much as I'd like about world literature).
posted by kariebookish at 4:31 AM on July 16

I didn't even know he HAD twitter! Maybe it is only a stunt, but I'm biting.
posted by koucha at 5:01 AM on July 16

I'll definitely read it all at once when he's done (not in the mood for micro-serialization), especially because I think I remember him saying that the story will tie in (thematically if not literally) to The Bone Clocks, which I am going to read the hell out of.
posted by Ben Trismegistus at 10:08 AM on July 16

He is publishing it in a series of 280 tweets.

Another welcome demonstration of the absurdity of chopping conversations into mincemeat. 140 characters is enough for a naked declaration, with no supporting or developing substance. Apparently our 'social networking' is intended be a trivial pursuit only.

Pray tell: what is the magic in the number 140? The average word is 6 letters; 140/6 is 23. Fnordic humor.
posted by Twang at 12:36 PM on July 16

The Millions has David Mitchell's entire twitter story collected, "The Right Sort."
posted by gladly at 10:16 AM on July 22 [1 favorite]

« Older Shin-Bijutsukai, The new monthly magazine of vario...  |  Sexist 60's embellish-your-own... Newer »

This thread has been archived and is closed to new comments